Streamer interface adapter cable mounted leveler

- The Laitram Corporation

A cable leveling device is attached to a streamer cable by providing an adapter module secured between two seismic streamer cable sections with one of the cable strain members secured to the adapter. An overlying coaxial housing is mounted for rotation about the adapter module so as to rotate with respect to the module. The overlying housing carries leveling apparatus in the form of paravanes as well as depth sensing and other apparatus, with the top part of the overlying housing containing a hollow or foam-filled buoyant portion, and with the bottom portion of the housing containing batteries, electronics and sensing devices, such that the housing is maintained in a vertical orientation because of its buoyant top portion and weighted bottom portion. The cable leveling device is secured not by collars to the resilient outer casing of a seismic streamer cable but rather to a rigid adapter module between cable sections, which in turn is secured to a single strain member, with the adapter providing a relatively short base line and thus a shorter leveling device. In one embodiment the housing is divided to provide a two-part clamshell arrangement clamped over the adapter module, with the adapter module having circumferential slots at either end thereof into which circumferential inwardly protecting ridges of the housing project such that rotation of the housing relative to the adapter module is facilitated.

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These and other features of the subject invention will be better understood in connection with the drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic illustration of the subject bird mounted to an adapter module which is secured to the ends of two adjacent cable sections;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 illustrating the carriage of the paravane or wing by the lower section of the rotatable outer housing, with the ballasting and electronics being provided beneath the paravane or wing;

FIG. 3 is a schematic and sectional view of the utilization of the adapter module, with its annular end channels cooperating with the ridges of the coaxially-mounted overlying housing;

FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C illustrate the vertical orientation of the housing regardless of cable twist;

FIGS. 5A and 5B are sectional views of a portion of the coaxial overlying housing illustrating the hollow nature of the upper portion of the housing and its hinged structure and clamping means; and

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic illustration showing sections of cable attached to an adapter module to which is to be attached a bird having a hinged exterior shell and inwardly-directed annular ribs which cooperative with the annular channels in the adapter module.


Referring now to FIG. 1, a streamer interface adapter cable mounted leveler or bird 10 is mounted between streamer cable sections 12 and 14 via punch lock bands 16 which, as will be discussed, secure the streamer cable sections to an adapter module 18. As illustrated in this embodiment, an outer overlying housing generally indicated by the reference character 20 includes a top clamshell portion 22 and a bottom portion 24 which carries wings 26 that are neutrally buoyant. Bottom portion 24 includes a cylinder 28 which carries, inter alia, the electromechanical apparatus for positioning wings 26, batteries and other electronic sensors and circuits.

As can be seen from the bottom left-hand portion of this figure, cable section 12 typically includes strain members 30, 32 and 34 which run longitudinally through the cable as illustrated. Interconnection wires 36 are also shown and are connected via connectors (not shown) to the adapter module 18 such that bird 10 and the electronics contained therein are inductively coupled to these lines which transmit the information to and from a towing vessel (not shown).

Referring to FIG. 2, a side view of the bird of FIG. 1 is shown in which one of the wings is seen to be pivoted about point 40, which in the preferred embodiment is along the longitudinal center line 42 of the cable made up of sections 12 and 14. It will be appreciated that a front portion 44 of the bottom portion 24 of housing 20 is canted for streamlining purposes.

Referring now to FIG. 3, it can be seen that in one embodiment adapter 18 is provided with annular grooves or channels 50 and 52 at either end thereof and that top portion 22 of housing 20 is provided with a cavity 54 which may be foam-filled or left open, the purpose of the cavity being to provide buoyancy. Top portion 22 as well as bottom portion 24 are provided with inwardly-directed annular ridges 56 and 58 which mate respectively with channels 50 and 52 such that the entire housing is designed to rotate freely about adapter module 18. In this diagram the outer casings of cable sections 12 and 14 are clamped to ridged end portions 60 and 62 of adapter module 18.

In one embodiment, adapter module 18 is provided with a breech shown in dotted outline at 64 which houses a coupling coil 66 which is inductively coupled to a coil 68 carried in the bottom portion of the housing. This provides for the coupling of signals from electronic circuitry 70 carried within the bottom portion of housing 20 to the cable-carried conductors. The electronic circuitry is powered by batteries 72, as are depth and temperature tranducers 74 carried in a faired pod at the aft end of housing 20.

Electronic circuitry 70 is provided to activate a motor 76 which drives a screwdrive 78 having its other end attached to a potentiometer 80 which provides information as to the position of a yoke 82 and therefore the position of wings 26 which are linked to yoke 82 via linkage 84.

Referring to FIGS. 4A and 4B, cable 90 is oriented as shown by axes 92 and 94, with strain member 96 being fixedly attached to module 18. Yoke 82 and linkages 84 are shown as being coupled to wings 26 to position the wings at the appropriate angle for leveling purposes. Also shown in this embodiment in dotted outline 22' is the top portion of housing 20, illustrating the ability to clamp the housing to the associated module. As illustrated in FIG. 4B, twisting the cable causes an off centering of axes 92 and 94 to the right, which causes a rotation of adapter module 18. However, as can be seen, housing 20 is maintained in a vertical position with the wings 26 in a horizontal position. This orientation is maintained both by the buoyancy of top portion 22 and the ballasting of bottom portion 24. The same situation is illustrated for an opposite twist of the cable as illustrated in FIG. 4C in which axes 92 and 94 are rotated to the left.

Referring now to FIGS. 5A and 5B, the hinged structure of housing 20 is illustrated in which portions 100 and 102 of bottom portion 24 of housing 20 are provided respectively with a hinge receiving groove 104 and a groove 106 adapted to receive a mating portion 108 of top housing portion 22. A screw 110 or other clamping device is provided to clamp a ledge portion 112 to a top surface 114 of portion 102. A hinge 116 is provided between housing portion 22 and housing portion 24 as illustrated. It should be noted that cavity 54, which provides buoyancy for the bird, may be filled with foam to provide the required neutral buoyancy of the bird.

Referring to FIG. 6, adapter module 18 is illustrated as having the aforementioned breech 64, with the annular channels 56 and 58 clearly in evidence. Also shown in this figure are end portions 60 and 62 which protrude into the ends of cable sections 12 and 14. Strain member 30' is secured to adapter module 18, whereas strain members 32' and 34' are permitted via channels in the adapter module to move longitudinally in both directions such that adapter module 18 is keyed to only one of the strained members. The adapter module may be fabricated with strain members 30', 32' and 34' extending from either end of the module, with these strain members being attached to the strain members of the cable sections in any conventional manner.

Bird 10 is shown in the clamshell embodiment with top clamshell portion 22 opened backwardly and with inwardly-directed ridges 56 and 58 being oriented perpendicular to the center line of housing 20. As can be seen, bottom portion 24 is provided with similar ridges 56 and 58 such that when the housing is clamped over adapter module 18 circumferential ridges exist and lie within the grooves of the associated ends of adapter module 18.

What has been provided is a bird which is readily attachable to a seismic streamer cable by virtue of utilization and of the adapter module and which is maintained in its vertical orientation both by the ballasting of the lower portion of the housing and by the buoyancy provided by the upper portion of the housing. In one embodiment, the wings are made to rotate about the center line of the cable which provides for more accurate cable positioning. It will be noted that the subject system is a rigid system to eliminate the problems of attaching a bird to the resilient outer sleeve or skin of a cable, thereby reducing noise and providing for more accurate positioning of the wings or paravanes of the bird.

Having above indicated a preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will occur to those skilled in the art that modifications and alternatives can be practiced within the spirit of the invention. It is accordingly intended to define the scope of the invention only as indicated in the following claims.


1. A cable leveling device adapted to be attached to a streamer cable comprising:

an adapter module adapted to be secured between two streamer cable sections, said module including an inner housing adapted to be attached at either end to a section end and an overlying housing adapted to rotate about said inner housing and including wings mounted to said overlying housing for rotation about a horizontal axis, said overlying housing including, an elongated weighted pod-like structure containing apparatus operably connected to control said wings, wherein:
said adapter module includes a first coil electrically connected to said streamer cable,
said overlying housing includes a second coil inductively coupled to said first coil and connected to electro-mechanical means, permitting an exchange of signals between said cable at said electro-mechanical means.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein said sections have strain members, one of said strain members attached to said module inner housing for the alignment of said module to the longitudinal axis of said one strain member.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein said wings and a portion of said module above said pod-like structure are positively buoyant.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein said overlying housing includes a clamshell portion adapted to open up to slip over said inner housing and to clamp around said inner housing in a closed position.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein said inner housing has annular mating means at either end thereof and wherein said overlying housing has corresponding annular mating means to permit relative rotation of the housings while limiting longitudinal movement between the two housings.

6. The device of claim 5 wherein said annular mating means includes cooperating ridges and grooves.

7. The device of claim 5 wherein said overlying housing includes a clamshell portion and means for clamping said clamshell portion shut over said inner housing such that said annular mating means mate.

8. The device of claim 7 wherein said clamping means includes circumferential straps about the ends of said overlying housing.

9. The device of claim 1 wherein the top portion of said overlying housing is positively buoyant.

10. The device of claim 9 wherein said top portion is partially hollow and is foam filled.

11. The device of claim 1 wherein said overlying housing includes a clamshell portion and overlying circumferential straps at either end for maintaining said clamshell portion shut.

12. The device of claim 1 wherein said wings are located on said overlying housing such that said horizontal axis passes through the longitudinal axis of said adapter module.

Referenced Cited
U.S. Patent Documents
3434446 March 1969 Cole
3440992 April 1969 Chance
3531761 September 1970 Tickell
3605674 September 1971 Weese
3931608 January 6, 1976 Cole
4204188 May 20, 1980 Weichert et al.
4530075 July 16, 1985 Pearson
Patent History
Patent number: 4711194
Type: Grant
Filed: Jan 11, 1985
Date of Patent: Dec 8, 1987
Assignee: The Laitram Corporation (New Orleans, LA)
Inventor: John T. Fowler (Marblehead, MA)
Primary Examiner: Thomas H. Tarcza
Assistant Examiner: Ian J. Lobo
Law Firm: Weingarten, Schurgin, Gagnebin & Hayes
Application Number: 6/690,867
Current U.S. Class: Having Depth-control Means (114/245); Hydromechanical (367/17)
International Classification: B63G 814;